Herefordshire Week 083: Tuesday 27 July – Monday 02 August 2021

Back to work and into the Brecon Beacons.

Pen y Fan (886 m), Cribyn (795 m) and Fan y Bîg (716 m) from the ridge
Pen y Fan (886 m), Cribyn (795 m) and Fan y Bîg (716 m) from the ridge

Duffryn – Cockyard – Kerrys Gate on Tuesday morning, then back to work after our holidays, spending the afternoon working through my post-holiday inbox. Not too bad.

Wednesday and Thursday were busy work days, with an hour of Thursday morning spent in the company of a local Passiv Haus specialist getting ideas on how to make the house more energy efficient. As Phil says, it feels like this sort of thing should be simpler.

Sociable Wednesday evening with VWW followed by the KM (Zoom) Summer Party. Crappy internet on Thursday evening put paid to Family Zoom.

Pottered on Friday morning, then into Hereford to do a big shop in the afternoon – overcast and then wet. I did get my first email newsletter from the Abergavenny Food Festival, which we’re planning to go to, providing more details on who’ll be there doing demos and talks on 18 & 19 September.

Pizza a la Phil for dinner, and Unforgotten.

Up early on Saturday for my first outing with the Golden Valley Walking Club: the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe featuring Corn Du, Pen y Fan (886 m) and Cribyn (795 m) from Neuadd car park, 8.5 miles from Talybont on Usk.

Pen y Fan (886 m) summit
Pen y Fan (886 m) summit

There’s a good write up of the route we did on Paul Shorrock’s walking blog. We did the 8.5 miles, 2,064ft / 629 m total ascent in 5 hours. My first time walking in the Brecon Beacons National Park – I’ll be back! I really enjoyed walking with the club too, so I’ll be going back out with them again.

The route to Cribyn from Pen y Fan
The route to Cribyn from Pen y Fan

Speedy turn around back at base, then over to dad and Jean’s for a smashing BBQ.

Sunday – Hello August! Hello more cloud and more rain…. We got out for a late morning walk, doing the Bacton Square. Back for lunch and an afternoon spent partly reading and partly doing a bit of gardening – taking down the “empty” broad bean plants and relocating the lettuces from the shady chive bed into the liberated sections of the veg patch.

Dismantling the broad beans to leave only those with pods still on them
Dismantling the broad beans to leave only those with pods still on them

Monday morning mega walk, on roads old and new: Down into Abbey Dore and up Cwm Road to Tremorithic Road. North to Fair Oak, then on to Newton – continuing on the road I’d started along last week. I had planned to take the road from Newton’s phone box to the Old School, but got lured further north by the prospect of reaching St Margarets – which remained elusive, mainly because my map stopped a little before Newton and St Margarets was actually up the road on my right.

Reached a T junction where a left turn led me back to the Old School and, in time, Lower Maes-coed, which is home to the dome-shaped hill we can see from here, and from Skirrid, The Cat’s Back and Hatterall Ridge. It’s home to a trig point, and the map plus visuals promised a footpath that would get me to the top without venturing into the field of cows. I am very wary of cows. Four fields later – including one of sweetcorn and another featuring lots of large hares – I came to the top of the hill, and realised the trig point was in another field – but the views were spectacular, especially of the Olchon Valley with the Cat’s Back on one side and Hatterall Ridge on the other. Wished I’d got my proper camera with me as my old iPhone doesn’t do it justice.

Dome hill (Mynydd Ferddin): The Cat's Back, Olchon Valley and Hatterall Ridge
Dome hill (Mynydd Ferddin): The Cat’s Back, Olchon Valley and Hatterall Ridge

Based on the map and a bit of googling, I think the hill is called Mynydd Ferddin although the map has ‘Cae Tack’ marked closer to the summit. One of those (frequent) times when it would be handy to know what the names mean. At least I know the height – 323 m! Oh, and Mynydd is Welsh for mountain.

I contemplated continuing on as the footpath comes out over towards The Wigga, but the fresh cow pats in the top field put me off. So back to the Longtown Road and down to the Old Trout Inn. Up Mill Lane to Middle Cefn Farm, then the footpaths back to Tremorithic. My final section was on to Ewyas Harold Common and footpaths down to Dore Abbey and round the back of Abbey Dore Court.

Home at 2pm.

A great morning out. About 12 miles overall I think, including footpaths, in 4 3/4 hours.

And all along my walk pretty much every time I got my map out friendly and helpful people stopped to check if I wanted directions, which was really, really lovely.

Read and did a bit of admin in the afternoon – including Wooden Floor Decision, and reconfiguring the furniture in the conservatory. Thunderstorms.

TV: Unforgotten (with the ever excellent Nicola Walker) and Mindhunter.

Podcasts:  The History of England, History ExtraBooks & Authors and The Essay – the rest of Albania!

Photos: Herefordshire week 83 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-08-01.